5 Tips to Begin Your Waste Free Journey Now!

by | January 6, 2018

“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.  -Native American Proverb

According to The World Counts website, every 2 hours we throw out enough waste to fill the world’s largest container ship with trash, and by 2030 the amount of household waste will almost double to 3000 million tons annually. Just looking at the numbers grow on the site’s ticker should be enough to wake you up to the dire state we are in.


We can all admit that we can always do more when it comes to solving this problem. It’s a new year full of new resolutions, why not add another one and commit to doing our part to care for our planet and be less wasteful. Here are 5 tips to get you started on your way to a new year with less waste.


  1. Buy Reusable Totes

Skip the options of “paper or plastic?” when making those trips to the supermarket. Instead, invest in eco-friendly and reusable totes. Most grocery stores offer their own branded bags in the checkout area, so no excuses. Just pay the extra $3 a bag and stock up. Always be sure to keep a couple of extra totes in the car just in case you forget the other ones at home on last minute runs. You can show your vegan pride by purchasing this perfect shopping bag, available in three sizes.


  1. Buy Used

You’ll be surprised to know that more than 70 percent of the world uses secondhand clothing. As a teenager I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing anything handed down or from a resale shop, but oh how things have changed over the years. My sisters, my mom and I actually find ourselves competing to see who has found the latest resale treasure. Now that I’m a mother I also welcome any ways I can save. I have my hubby’s thrifty garage sale queen of a grandma to thank for never having to purchase an article of clothing for our son. Shopping at resale stores has also become the trendy thing to do with the younger generations, to find one of a kind stuff. You’d be surprised to also find some awesome name brand things in there too! When you’re done with certain clothes, donate it to charity or drop it off at your nearest Goodwill, don’t throw it away.


  1. Meal Plan

This one is a work in progress for me for sure. I usually run around like a scattered mess at the grocery store but I have tried meal planning and prepping, and it works. Not only does meal planning provide organization throughout your familiy’s busy week but it’s also an effective way to lessen your grocery bill and food waste. Make sure you set aside and stick to a 20-30 minute slot one day out of the week to plan out your meals, make a grocery list and go shopping for the week (with your reusable bags). Having a grocery list at hand will help you get what you need and help prevent any random food to go to waste that you might have picked up “just in case”. This is also a good way to try to stick to a budget and to that goal of eating healthier. If you have time, make meals in advance or be ahead of the game by cutting up veggies for the week.


  1. Back to Food Waste

Food waste has to be addressed twice; it is no joke. According to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) in the U.S. alone, 40% of food goes uneaten. The Huffington Post sadly states that, “There is something fundamentally wrong when around one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, yet more than 800 million people go to bed hungry each night.”. You can fight food waste by not buying more food than you will eat for the week, getting creative with scraps, composting and signing this and other petitions and making your voice heard. Last year The Huffington Post started a campaign against food waste called Reclaim. They have partnered up with like-minded organizations to petition to change the way supermarkets deal with extra food and labeling. There are also “ugly” fruit and veggie movements you can participate in like Imperfect Produce’s food delivery service. More than 20% of fruits and vegetables grown in America never make it off the farm because they aren’t perfect enough for grocery store standards and Imperfect Produce is working to not have it go to waste and instead delivers it to your door for 30%-50% less than grocery stores.


  1. Stop buying plastic water bottles, PLEASE!

This is a personal pet peeve of mine. Ban the Bottle states that it takes more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, not including the oil used for transportation, to meet the bottled water demand in the U.S. Of the average American using 167 disposable water bottles per year, only 38 were recycled. Even if we did recycle the plastic water bottles, most would end up in the landfill anyway because only some (approximately 1 in 5) qualify to actually be recycled. To look at it in terms of money, according to Consumer Report, one year of plastic bottled water use could cost $346, versus only a total of 48 cents worth of tap water. So what to do? Buy a reusable water bottle or travel mug stat! Stainless steel, glass, BPA free. The choices are endless! Make it a fun trip to the store and have your kids each pick out a favorite one which will not only encourage them to use it more but to also want to drink more water. If you don’t want to drink the water at home, invest in a filter or buy a couple of water jugs and fill up at the nearest supermarket. Save the planet and save yourself some money.

Visit our shop and pick up some amazing eco-friendly items to help you minimize your everyday waste and spread the word and be the example. As with being vegan, knowledge is power and we sometimes have to take it upon ourselves to spread it. We only have one planet Earth and it’s counting on us. 


Michelle Alvarado I began my vegan journey after becoming pregnant. I initially did it for my/ our health but quickly learned about the horrible treatment of animals that goes on and it turned into a bigger thing than myself. I currently live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, son and shelter pup (she’s 11 but will always be a puppy in my eyes). I went to school for communications but pursued a career in early childhood education and was a preschool teacher for almost a decade. I owe my insight in child development to my hands on experience in the field and hope to utilize it to further the progress of future vegan generations. I am beyond grateful to have found Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting and Raise Vegan, not only for the platform that it has provided me to further the awareness of vegan family resources but for what I have personally gained from it by being a member and from knowing these wonderful women. I look forward to all the amazing things to come as we help pave the way and provide a haven of love an support for vegan families.


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